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WHAT ARE WE?
time ago, I was, as is quite common, listening to my music and the
words of one particular song, and not a Christian one, stuck in my
mind. In particular just two lines from that song.
One more day of endless pretending.
Do we know who we are?
Wheeling West Virginia by Neil Sedaka
thought long and seriously about these lines because they stuck in my
head. These words, for a non-Christian song, pose a very serious
question - do we really know who we are as Christians and can the world
are the old and worn descriptions that most people who have ever
attended church at some point in their life can quote to you as
something they are familiar with:
- sons of the Living God
- priests of the Most High God
- Servants of Christ
- and so the list goes on.
these attributes are excellent but the Bible brings out some very
interesting characteristics that may not be so well known as Christian
ones. They are often overlooked or ignored because we can see their
counterparts in every day life and therefore may not consider them to
be important or even relevant.
These are the things that we are familiar with through our basic senses:
Are we agreed that these are everyday things that are a normal part of our lives?
It is these basics that I wish to touch on now.
1. Christ’s Fragrance
far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our
lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the
saved and the unsaved all around us. To those who are not being saved,
we seem a fearful smell of death and doom, while to those who know
Christ we are a life-giving perfume. But who is adequate for a task as
this? Only those who, like ourselves, are men of integrity, sent by
God, speaking with Christ’s power, with God’s eye upon us. We are not
like those hucksters - and there are many of them - whose idea in
getting out the Gospel is to make a good living out of it.
II Corinthians 2:15-17 (Living Bible)
This is an interesting use by Paul as we generally tend to think of a fragrance as something that is sweet or nice.
however, says it is only sweet to those who are saved; to those who are
not, the fragrance is, in fact, just the opposite - it is the fragrance
of death. Anyone who has smelt a rotting carcase will know just how
foul a fragrance this can be, yet to a scavenging animal, this is a
most wonderful aroma. We must, therefore, strive to be a fragrance that
tells others that what we have and what we are is really good for them.
We need to be infectious - that is letting people “feel” our presence.
told them another parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a
woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was
leavened all through.”
Matthew 13:33 (Jerusalem Bible)
this passage Jesus is telling his disciples to be “infectious”, that
is, like a virus they must have an affect on all those around them (and
so must we). However, Jesus also warned his disciples not to be like
the Pharisees who were “infecting” the people in a wrong way (Matthew
5:16:5-12): we must be sure that the way we have others follow us is a
way that will be acceptable to Christ and not necessarily to the people
3. A Guiding Beacon
are a light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be
hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead he puts
it on a lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In
the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see
the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (Good News Bible)
are the light of the world, or as in other passages, we are a beacon, a
lighthouse used to guide people. During the 19th Century, pirates would
set false lighthouses on treacherous coastline in order to lure ships
into the treacherous waters where they would break up and sink. The
pirates would then scavenge the cargo. This is not the sort of beacon
Christ wants us to be. We need people to be able to look at us and see
the correct way to live: the way that leads to eternal life.
good is salt that has lost its saltiness? Flavourless salt is fit for
nothing - not even for a fertiliser. It is worthless and must be thrown
out. Listen well if you understand my meaning.
Luke 14:34-35 (Living Bible)
passage generally uses the word salt, but some liberal translations use
the word flavouring. Those who cook will know that there are two types
of flavouring that can be used:- one that makes the food even more
desirable while the other group makes the food bitter and most
unpleasant. We need to be sure that our lives “flavour” those around us
in a way that is good. Living lives that make people ask what it is
that we’ve got that they haven’t. If you like, we need to make them
envious of us being Christians.
5. Clear Sounds
friends, even if I myself should come to you talking in some language
you don’t understand, how would that help you? But if I speak plainly
what God has revealed to me, and tell you the things I know, and what
is going to happen, and the great truths of God’s Word - that is what
you need; that is what will help you. Even musical instruments - the
flute, for instance, or the harp - are examples of the need for
speaking in plain English rather than in unknown languages. For no one
will recognise the tune the flute is playing unless each note is
sounded clearly. And if the army bugler doesn’t play the right notes,
how will the soldiers know that they are being called to battle? In the
same way, if you talk to a person in some language he doesn’t
understand, how will he know what you mean. You might as well be
talking to an empty room.
I Corinthians 14:6-9 (Living Bible)
Bible is full of references about the need for clarity in what we say.
It is so easy to be misunderstood and to see the drastic consequences
that that can cause. Paul reminds us in this chapter about the need for
us to speak clearly, in understandable language, to those around us.
Will we be just a “noisy gong” or will people dwell on the things we
say, perceiving a wisdom that is not of this world
are just 5 characteristics of our lives as Christians. Many churchians
(that is, people who make the church the centre of their faith and
beliefs rather than Christ) have fake copies of these characteristics
but if we are to be a flame of Christ then these must be parts of our
lives that leave those around us in no doubt about our salvation. This
is not easy and, in fact, we cannot do it on our own. But when the
Spirit dwells within in us, the task is already done.